It’s summertime, and for a lot of people that means long hikes to picturesque places, Ray Ban tan lines, camping trips fueled by Walden-esque notions of attaining spiritual at one-y-ness with the great outdoors, and all in all, an enthused sense of whimsy felt for Colorado and its many vistas, forests, mountains, bike trails, and blah, and blah, and blah.
For the rest of us — those that enjoy the modern miracle of central air and are most familiar with the sun as that happy fellow on the Raisin Bran box, summer means getting reacquainted with an old, dumb friend that has nothing new to say for months at a time.
Summer television, for our more vibrant and bronzed readers not in the know (to whom I direct a scornful, wheezy “pssh”), is where all the appointment viewing of the past year gets re-aired, only now tagged with lines like “encore”, “bonus”, or “the episode that has everyone talking,” so as not to curtail any enthusiasm one might feel for repackaged goods.
For kicks, try applying this marketing technique to other redundant aspects of your life. The leftovers wrapped in tin foil in your fridge suddenly become “Dinner: the Platinum Collector’s Edition.” Is your significant other a go-nowhere lump? Think of them more as your personal couch chalet. If your religion of choice is convinced the world will end in merciless zombie reprisal, just call it the Rapture. That way, the apocalypse sounds like some sort of erotic wine-tasting, and who doesn’t look forward to a good.one of those?
But you can only watch so many reruns before things start to get a little stale, so I’ve compiled a few handy tips that should help you get through the summer without seeing anyone or doing anything. My theory is you can’t have a decent mid-life crisis, desperately trying to recapture your wasted youth, if you traipse around being all fulfilled now. Why dive into your life right away when it only deprives future older, fatter, sadder you of the experience? Plan ahead, kids.
First, learn how to play off of your favorite shows’ familiar ticks and lazy writing in order to make it more interactive. Let’s look at the popular “House M.D.,” a show that proves television is so stifled by flaccid P.C. tip-toeing that an anti-hero as statically brusque and clumsily offensive as the titular one can be hailed as the greatest dramatic creation of the last decade.
After you’ve seen all the testicle explosions and parasitic babies and super model he-she’s for a second time, it might start feeling a tad predictable. And this, of course, means it’s time for a drinking game. Whenever someone’s eyes turn yellow because their liver is shutting down, take a shot. Whenever House makes another edgy remark about black people, take a shot. Whenever they rule out lupus, meningitis, or sarcoidosis, why, take a shot. Be creative with it.
Second, remember that not all shows air repeats over the summer. Some run year-long, like the over-caffeinated schlock gossip-mongers “Extra,” and the hard-bitten chroniclers of America’s burgeoning white trash dynasties, “The Insider.” They are half-hour exercises in celebrity obsession, not with any particular celebrity, but obsession with celebrity itself; just raw status, the exposure of fame, no matter how minute, unremarkable, or underserved.
Case in point: the other day “The Insider” aired a dramatization of Anna Nicole Smith’s son’s final moments. That alone will surely end up in a far-flung history book trying to explain what happened to those Ameri-whats-its that went and dumbed themselves right off the face of the earth, but “The Insider “didn’t end there. They proceeded to show a behind the scenes featurette on the making of the reenactment, including the director announcing his modus of “taste first” and the production team’s efforts to recreate the deathbed/living room as accurately as possible. Then, they had an in-depth interview with the woman playing Anna Nicole concerning what it was like filming the reenactment. The reenactment they just made themselves. For their own show. I believe the Latin term for this kind of self-consuming logic is Circulus Jerkus.
Space forbids me from going on, but remember – summer doesn’t have to be all about getting exercise and enjoying oneself. There’s plenty of opportunity to park in front of the tube and bake yourself a pasty, day-glow white.
Ryan Nowell is a junior English major. His column appears Wednesdays in the summer Collegian edition. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.